Chinese Music, Pt 6

After plenty of tear-jerking ballads and great dance tunes, I decided that it's time for something a little more rocky. I'm a big fan of rock music, even though my obsession with Wang Leehom and Show Luo may make this a little hard to believe. I've a very soft spot for a good guitar riff and an even softer spot for Bon Jovi (What? It's My Life, alright!). I listen to the likes of Daughtry, Good Charlotte, Green Day, Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon, Snow Patrol, The Calling and The Script to randomly name but a few.

Since I started to primarily listen to C-Pop, I've listened to considerably less rock music simply because I hardly listen to English songs any more. I've discovered that listening to Chinese Music is one of the easiest ways for me to practice listening to spoken Mandarin. That along with plenty of movies and silly Taiwanese TV dramas of course. For me this is a fun way of learning and anything that's fun is quite high on my to do list when it comes to studying...text books generally make me run the other way. I like it when learning doesn't make you feel like you're actually learning. The boring stuff is unavoidable but when you add plenty of fun the whole experience becomes a lot less painful.

There are indeed moments when I'm not lost in a dream world because I'm listening to Wang Leehom's 你不知道的事 - it's okay, I forgive you if you don't believe me. Seriously though, I truly love rock music so no matter how obsessed I may be with C-Pop, sometimes I just need a fix. Instead of relying on artists I already know I've decided to try and discover what Chinese Rock Music has to offer. It's not been an easy quest, I can tell you that. I have however discovered a firm favourite and no it's not Cui Jian (崔建), the Godfather of Chinese Rock. I have listened to 一無所有 (Nothing To My Name) because of the history attached to the song and I appreciate his music but unfortunately for Cui Jian, I've fallen for another.

The guy I've fallen for is 汪峰 (Wang Feng).

He's been around for quite some time (since around 1997 to be exact) but it's English info on him is pretty scarce. It's given me a reason to spend plenty of time on Chinese websites, reading and translating lyrics and finding out a little bit of background info about him since Wikipedia only has the bare minimum on him - they don't even have any info on his latest album "Life Asks For Nothing" (生无所求 | Shēng Wú Suǒ Qiú) which was released towards the end of November 2011 and is full of fabulous songs. So fabulous that you should definitely get it if you like good Chinese Rock Music.

I don't quite remember how I stumbled over 汪峰's songs, but I do remember that it was love at first listen. His songs are easy to understand which isn't surprising as he's a Beijing native and speaks very clear Mandarin. All his songs have a distinctive rock element to them, the kind that you rarely seem to find in Chinese Music (my opinion) unless you dig deep. Each and every one of his albums has a good mix of ballads and up-tempo rock tunes on them and despite the language barrier his songs have genuinely moved me, especially when he sings songs about his 爸爸 - that song opened flood gates, I tell you!

Wang Feng first rose to fame with a band called "No. 43 Baojia Street" which he founded in college but they didn't stay together long, in terms of recording music together that is. They had a hard time making it big in Beijing despite being quite good and were talking about breaking up when Wang Feng was offered a solo record deal by a major label. He accepted the offer and released his first solo record a couple of years later... "Life Asks For Nothing" is his seventh studio album. I won't bore you with a complete biography and discography but in case you care the Chinese version of Wikipedia (Baike Baidu) has his complete life's story (or so it seems) up. Mind you, it's all in Chinese so you have two choices: 1) get somebody to translate (don't look at me!) or 2) use Google Translate, which sucks. Alternatively, if you speak Mandarin...even better! If you're learning, here's a free lesson for you.

But enough of the talking and more of the music. Let's see what I can find for you. I'd like to kick things off with a song from Wang Feng's latest album. This song titled 不经意间, inspired me to write this blog post, so enjoy!

不经意间 (Bù Jīng Yì Jiān) translates, as per, as follows: without paying attention / without noticing / unconsciously / inadvertently. I initially thought it was an idiom -the four character thing, you know, it can be misleading if you're not that apt at Chinese just yet- but that does not appear to be the case. It is merely a phrase. Should I be wrong, please feel free to correct me. The actual English title of the song is "Stumble Upon" which does, sort of, make sense as one can indeed stumble upon things when one isn't paying attention.

You can listen to the song HERE. Unfortunately there is no video for the song, so I can't share that with you...couldn't even find it on Youku. The song should start automatically when you click on the link, at least it did so with me, and you can read the Chinese lyrics while listening. 

Do you listen to Chinese Rock Music? If so, do you have a favourite song, artist or band? Please share! 

春天里 (Chūntiān Lǐ | Spring Time)

北京北京 (Běijīng Běijīng | Beijing)

在雨中 (Zài yǔ Zhōng | In The Rain) LIVE - fantastic song.

像个孩子 (Xiàng Gè Háizi | Like A Child) - I'm obsessed with the cute baby on the screen in the background!

怒放的生命 (Nùfàngde Shēngmìng | Life In Full Bloom)

If you'd like me to suggest more songs by Wang Feng, just let me know, and I'll suggest you something. Have I successfully proven that I do listen to more than just Wang Leehom? ;-) I promise you my next post about Chinese Music will shine the spotlight on some awesome female artists...and after that maybe more Wang Leehom? Just had to get his name in a couple more times...

Add. Note: Wang Feng has an official Weibo account, so feel free to follow him.